Hong Kong billionaire Joseph Lau is a pioneering collector across many fields who is most well-known for his collection of jewellery, paintings and antiques. In 2015, Lau bought a 12-carat blue diamond for his daughter and named it ‘The Blue Moon of Josephine’. In early 2020, Lau sold his priced painting- David Hockney’s The Splash, for £23.1m (around US$30m).
Sotheby’s will be offering wines from Lau’s cellar in the upcoming Hong Kong Autumn sales in October. The sale which comprises 110 lots will be solely dedicated to Lau’s collection. Legendary vintages of Burgundy and Bordeaux including DRC Romanée-Conti, Pétrus in Rare Large Format and Vosne-Romanée Cros-Parantoux by Henri Jayer will be featured.
Tycoon Joseph Lau’s art collection has always caught a lot of attention
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti (standard size), 1990, 12 bottles｜Estimate: HK$1.7m - 2.6m
David Hockney’s The Splash which was sold earlier this year belonged in Lau’s private collection
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (DRC) is widely considered as one of the world’s greatest wine producers. Romanée-Conti, La Tâche and Montrachet are all products from DRC. Romanée-Conti, which comes from DRC’s most famous vineyard, is considered the best of the best.
Romanée-Conti is a rare vintage wine which has Pinot Noir as the main grape variety and only around 5000 bottles can be produced each year. Due to the wine’s popularity, DRC once had to release only one bottle of Romanée-Conti out of a box of twelve wines, in proportion to the harvest of grapes.
Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Romanée-Conti (6L), 1996, 1 methusaleh｜Estimate: HK$1m - 1.6m
Three 6L methusalehs of Romanée-Conti from 1996, 1999, and 2002 will be offered as one of the highlights. The wine vintages from 1996 which carry an estimate of HK1-1.6m (US$120,000-200,000) have received a ‘98 out of 100’ from famous wine critic Robert Parker.
Another highlight of the sale are 12 bottles of standard size (750mL) 1990 Romanée-Conti with a total estimate of HK$1.7m-2.6m (US$200,000-320,000). 1990 is one of the prime years of Romanée-Conti production. The wines are currently in their peak drinking window which makes them perfect for both enjoyment and collection purposes. 48 bottles of 1990 Romanée-Conti, including the standard size ones, will be on offer in the sale.
Pétrus (1.5L), 1961, 2 magnums｜Estimate: HK$320,000-480,000
Pétrus (1.5L), 1982, 6 magnums｜Estimate: HK$320,000-480,000
Pétrus (standard size), 1990, 12 bottles｜Estimate: HK$320,000-450,000
Leading the Bordeaux wines are very rare Pétrus vintages from 1961, 1982 and 1990. Two 1.5L 1961 Pétrus and six 1.5L 1982 Pétrus with the same total estimate of HK$320,000-480,000 (US$40,000-60,000) will be on offer, along with 12 standard size 1990 Pétrus which carries an estimate of HK$320,000-450,000 (US$40,000-55,000).
The popular 1982 Château Lafite will also appear at the sale. 12 bottles of the sought-after vintage in standard size bottles totals an estimate of HK$220,000-300,000 (US$28,000-38,000). A few wines produced by French vintner Henri Jayer, including Cros-Parantoux, Echézeaux and Richebourg will also be available. The 66 bottles are either of standard size or 1.5 magnums, the latter were made in the period of 1979 to 1999.
Château Lafite, 1982, 12 standard size bottles ｜Estimate: HK$220,000-300,000
Richebourg (1.5L), 1985, 1 magnum｜Estimate: HK$320,000-450,000
Cros-Parantoux (1.5L), 1999, 1 magnum｜Estimate: HK$180,000-260,000
Joseph Lau had previously mentioned in an interview that he was a big fan of wine vintages. Collecting to him is a hobby, not an investment. Over the years, Lau has spent over one billion Hong Kong dollars on vintages, which is approximately 13 million U.S. dollars.
Patti Wong, Chairman of Sotheby’s Asia, states: “It is with great pleasure that Sotheby’s will present Wines from the Cellar of Joseph Lau this October. A pioneering collector across many fields, Mr Lau has amassed one of the world’s most spectacular wine collections over the past decades, with enduring passion and discerning taste that has focused on the very finest producers and vintages. This autumn, wine lovers will have an opportunity to glimpse through the keyhole and into the cellar of this legendary collector.”
Speaking of the sale, Joseph Lau adds: “It is my pleasure to entrust the team at Sotheby’s with this sale of a small part of my wine collection. These wines have been passionately collected for over thirty-eight years and this sale will give fellow wine lovers a glimpse into my cellar and the wines and producers that I treasure the most.”
Auction house: Sotheby’s Hong Kong
Sale: Wines from the Cellar of Joseph Lau
Date: 3 October 2020